Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
klecser

Do the Southern Reach novels get better?

Recommended Posts

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer is very Lovecraftian in it's cosmic-horror style of Science fiction.  I think what transpires in the novel is great inspiration for Call of Cthulhu Keepers. 

That said, I didn't quite care for the novel itself as a literary piece.

Are the later books "more of the same" or are there enhancements to the story that made it more engaging for you in later volumes?

Edited by klecser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not saying I expect Lovecraftesque.  There are lots of reasons why people like and dislike novels.  I'm asking if the last two books are similar in terms of how the author handles characters, theme, plot, setting, etc.  You like them.  Awesome.  That isn't my question.  My question is: Are the last two like the first one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The second two books are in many ways different than the first... but that's from my reading of them, and what I considered the qualities of the first and second books. But for all I know you might consider them the same, since you will view the first book in a certain way, with certain qualities that you emphasize in your reading that might not be something that really stuck with me.

I'm not trying to be a dick here. It is simply a complicated issue.

So: Can you describe what the "same" is for you in the first volume that might mark the later volumes as "more of the same." What are the qualities you are talking about?

Further: What are the qualities that made the first book not engaging for you, so I might be able to tell you if these same qualities are in the later books.  It is the only way I can address the question, "Are the later books "more of the same" or are there enhancements to the story that made it more engaging for you in later volumes?"

Edited by creativehum
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a biologist, VanderMeer doesn't seem like he consulted with any scientists in writing his characters.  I find the decision-making of the characters to be counter-intuitive to how actual scientists would approach situations. I understand that some level of suspension of disbelief is needed for fiction. He just went too far for me.  And, I'm not talking about after they start to be mentally affected by the zone.  I'm talking about before that even happens. In the first few chapters I'm like: "Yeah, this is not how we think about things like this."

That's my biggest beef and it may not be a question you can answer.  And if not, that is fine.  I enjoyed the Lovecraftian and science fiction elements of the novel.  But when you don't "buy" the characters, it is tough to get into it.

I'm not condemning the novel or anything.  I can see why a lot of people like it.  I just couldn't personally get into for that main reason.

Edited by klecser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, klecser said:

As a biologist, VanderMeer doesn't seem like he consulted with any scientists in writing his characters.  I find the decision-making of the characters to be counter-intuitive to how actual scientists would approach situations. I understand that some level of suspension of disbelief is needed for fiction. He just went too far for me.  And, I'm not talking about after they start to be mentally affected by the zone.  I'm talking about before that even happens. In the first few chapters I'm like: "Yeah, this is not how we think about things like this."

While the second and the third book are quite different from the first, I'd suspect you wouldn't like them either - most of the characters have more or less serious mental problems which, among other things, lead to pretty counter-intuitive decision making.

Didn't want to be a dick about it, too, btw. - it's just that your initial post sounds extremely derisive about a book that I happen to hold dearly ...

 

EDIT: BTW, the POV character of Annihilation is paranoid, so you're probably not supposed to trust her decpiction of the other expedition members ...

Edited by Jakob
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The internet is, of course, really bad at communicating tone of voice. Everybody is entitled to like what they like. I DO still recommend Annihilation to people, especially CoC players/Keepers.  I just don't think I'll read the last two. 😕

Edited by klecser
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In terms of decision making of characters:

i can't counter your point -- in part because I don't know what the decisions are that you are referencing... and also because once you pointed them out I might be like, "Yeah, it makes no sense the character made that decision."

But in terms of what I carried from the books:

Annihilation makes it clear that the characters going into Area X have been manipulated even before they cross the border. The book is very upfront about this. Later books dig deeper into the question of these maniplations and why they were done and what the effects on expeditions might be. But it is clear in the first book that the judgements of the characters were compromised before the expedition even began. The affect Area X has on them is the jackhammer to the biology that follows.

Further, I think the books have an interesting take on the whole notion of being "objective". It puts to question the entire notion that we can work from some sort of objective point of view, always rising above all the factors influencing us in our various environments that we literally cannot be aware of as we are inside them.

Some people are willing to get on the Our Brains Are Slippery Train... and other people are certain they can look at the world with Cold Clear Eyes If Only We Think Correctly.

This difference might be one inflection point (among many) as to how one responds to the books.

Edited by creativehum
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...